Dalhousie University - Anesthesiology - Halifax

2022 R-1 Main Residency Match - first iteration
CMG Stream for CMG

Last approved on December 07, 2021

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Robyn Doucet
Anesthesia, Pain Management and Perioperative Medicine 
QEII Health Sciences Centre, VG Building  
1276 South Street, Rm 231C
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 2Y9
(902) 473-2325
Department of Anesthesia, Pain Management & Perioperative Medicine

Program Contacts

Dr. Robyn Doucet
Program Director
(902) 473-2325

Dr. Andrew Jarvie
Associate Program Director

Ms. Jessie Purvis
Education Manager

Important Information

Any information included on requested documents submitted to CaRMS, as well as all interactions throughout the CaRMS process, may be taken into account during a candidate's review and assessment.

Our most recent program accreditation was successful with a recommended status of accredited program with follow-up by regular accreditation review.

Our program values the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) as a goal in the selection process. To help inform and advance EDI in our selection process we are pleased to offer the option to submit the voluntary CaRMS Self Identification Questionnaire as part of an approved pilot offered in conjunction with CaRMS.

Please see 'Supporting documents' and 'Selection criteria' sections below for further information.

General Instructions

Program application language: English

Supporting Documentation

Applicants are advised to only provide the documents requested by the program. No other documents submitted will be reviewed.
Canadian citizenship
CaRMS partners with third-party organizations to verify your citizenship or permanent resident status. If your status is verified by one of these organizations, you will not need to provide citizenship documents in your application. If your citizenship status is not verified, you must provide one of the documents listed below.
Submit one of the following documents to verify your Canadian citizenship:
• Canadian Birth Certificate or Act of Birth
• Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
• Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)


You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident at the time of application.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

Reference letters from attending staff are preferred. If more than 3 reference letters are submitted, your application will not be reviewed.

Additional documents
Medical School Transcript 

Medical Student Performance Record 

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

A narrative (a minimum of 500 to a maximum of 1000 words) is required outlining:

  • your path to medicine
  • demonstrated passion and perseverance toward your goals, what motivates you and how do you manage stress
  • what about our Dalhousie Anesthesia program and training in the Maritimes excites you

Consider commenting on any failures, leaves of absences, etc. during your previous education showing what you have learned from that experience. If you feel that your application doesn't demonstrate well your interest in anesthesia (due to late decision to pursue for example) you may also explain this in your letter.

[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Optional - will be reviewed
CaRMS self-identification questionnaire 

We invite candidates who have completed the voluntary CaRMS Self Identification questionnaire as part of their application to submit their responses to our program.

This is a voluntary option for anyone who wishes to confidentially share their responses with us. All information received will be maintained as part of the application, which is handled with complete confidentiality. Any responses received will be used only to support our program’s and Dalhousie’s equity, diversity, and inclusion goals.

Candidates are not required to submit the CaRMS Self Identification questionnaire, but for those that do feel comfortable doing so the information received would only be used to advantage those who would contribute to the diversity of our community.

Applicants have two options:

Option 1: Upload a copy of the completed CaRMS self-identification questionnaire sent via e-mail.

Option 2: Download the PDF version of the CaRMS self-identification questionnaire here:

Once completed, upload and assign the completed questionnaire to our program.

Review Process

Applications submitted after file review has opened on January 31, 2022

Supporting documents (excluding letters of reference) that arrive after file review has opened  on  January 31, 2022

Letters of reference that arrive after the unmasking date on January 31, 2022

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Late reference letters may be considered under extenuating circumstances only.



  • March 5, 2022
  • March 6, 2022
All candidates selected for an interview will be notified on or before Feb 18, 2022. You will be notified via email on the process of how to book your interview. Interviews are scheduled for Saturday, Mar 5th and Sunday, Mar 6th, 2022.


Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
The interview will be in the format of MMI (Multiple Mini Interviews).  There will be an opportunity to meet (virtually) with some of the current residents.  

Selection Criteria

Applicants are chosen based on the following characteristics (in no particular order):

  • Aptitude for independent learning and organization
  • Interest in, and knowledge of, the specialty
  • Academic potential
  • Aptitude for anesthesia – technical and non-technical
  • Ability to handle stress
  • Communication skills
  • Team work
  • Leadership potential
  • Professionalism
  • Scholarly interests (research, education, QA, etc)
  • Participation in extracurricular activities
  • Diversity
  • Interest in Dalhousie Anesthesia Program

Program goals

Dalhousie University has the ongoing goal of implementing a first-rate anesthesia residency program designed to train physicians capable of delivering an outstanding level of patient care consistent with requirements of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). Our program strives to ensure its residents reflect the communities they serve, and as such welcome and encourage applications from all qualified individuals of any race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, gender, or sexual orientation. 

Dalhousie’s mid-sized program allows for more individualized attention through the residency process, ensuring continued progression of your confidence and knowledge in the areas of specialty skills, judgment, professional responsibility and clinical independence is expected over the five years of anesthesia training. Upon completion of this training, our residents are able to demonstrate their competency as a specialist anesthesiologist, capable of assuming a consultant’s role in the specialty. By the conclusion of the program, residents will also be able to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes relating to gender, culture and ethnicity pertinent to anesthesia practice. In addition, all residents will be able to demonstrate an ability to incorporate gender, cultural and ethnic perspectives in research methodology, data presentation and analysis. In the course of developing these important skills, Dalhousie’s program prides itself in ensuring resident wellness and work-life balance remains a priority. We look forward to welcoming you in Canada’s Maritime Capital.  

Selection process goals

The characteristics listed below describe the areas of priority we are looking for in candidates, we realize not everyone excels at all aspects and we are aiming to choose well-rounded individuals that will thrive in our program, the table below outlines where we are primarily evaluating the different characteristics. We are looking for a diverse group of residents with the aim of training anesthesiologists for both academic and community settings. 

Dalhousie is committed to fostering a collegial culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness. The university encourages applications from Indigenous persons, persons with a disability, racialized persons, women, persons of a minority sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and all candidates who would contribute to the diversity of our community.
Candidates are not required to submit the CaRMS Self Identification questionnaire, but for those that do feel comfortable doing so the information received would only be used to advantage those who would contribute to the diversity of our community.
Any self identification questionnaires received will be reviewed as part of our file review process, andused as an aid for file reviewers in selecting a diverse group of candidates for interviews. Information received may also be used by the program to adjust final rankings, at the discretion of the selection committee, to address issues of program priority and diversity.



Resident Selection Criteria

File Review


Aptitude for self-directed learning and organization



Interest/Knowledge of Specialty



Academic Potential



Aptitude for anesthesia



Ability to handle stress



Communication skills



Team work



Leadership potential






Scholarly Interests



Extra –curricular activities



Interest in Dal Program



File review process

Review team composition : The selection committee will include the Program and Associate Program Directors, Residents, Office of Education staff and Faculty members. The committee aims for a diversity of background, academic experience and clinical sites. Each file is reviewed and scored by a minimum of 3 reviewers.

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 51 - 200
usually around 130

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 26 - 50 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV We do not evaluate this file component
Electives Interest in anesthesia and variety of electives
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component.
Extra-curricular Interests in general, volunteering, time management
Leadership skills If any, including mentoring
MSPRs Performance
Personal letters Writing ability, attention to detail, and how your narrative addresses the requested components
Reference documents Positive interactions with colleagues and patients, aptitude for anesthesia
Research/Publications Previous experience, and future interest
Transcripts Academic performance, clinical evaluations

Elective criteria

We are looking for and rewarding applicants who have completed a broad range of electives including in our discipline.
We do not require applicants to have done onsite electives.

We recognize that not all interested applicants are able to secure an elective with us and do take this into consideration.

Interview process

Interview format :

We may accommodate requests to re-schedule interviews for applicants due to weather, technology failure, or unforeseen circumstances.

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Positive, respectful interactions
Collegiality Work together towards common goals
Communication skills Clear, concise and respectful, active listening
Health advocacy Appreciation of social determinants of health and importance of health advocacy
Interest in the discipline Not evaluated in interview
Interest in the program Interest and connections to the Maritimes
Leadership skills Engaged, proactive, motivates and builds a team
Professionalism Accountable to team, willing to admit to mistakes and learn from them
Scholarly activities Not evaluated in interview

Information gathered outside of CaRMS application

Specifically, we may consider:

Ranking process

The behavior(s) exhibited below during the interview process may prevent an applicant from being ranked by our program :

Program Highlights

As a resident in Dalhousie Anesthesia, Pain Management & Perioperative Medicine you will gain the clinical, academic, research and professional experience you need to become a highly competent, compassionate anesthesiologist and leader in the field. You will be well supported to meet your training goals and well prepared to pass the  Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons exams.

It is highly competitive to enter our five-year residency program. We receive about 130 applications each year from qualified medical students in Canada. 

Some highlights as identified by our residents:

  • Size of the program - big enough for good experience but small enough that everyone knows you
  • Supportive and organized office of education to support resident experience
  • Staff to learner ratio, lots of one-on-one teaching opportunities
  • Global health program and opportunities
  • Research office support for the resident research program
  • Welcoming and friendly city and program

Program Curriculum

This residency program is for 5 years.

Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.

Stages of Training

The Anesthesia Program contains four levels of training: [Note: one block is 4 weeks]

  1. Transition to Discipline - 2 blocks of orientation in non-subspecialty anesthesia
  2. Foundations - 22 blocks of fundamental anesthesia, medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, critical care, pain/regional, and elective or formal enhanced learning plan
  3. Core - 28 blocks of subspecialty anesthesia, medicine, critical care, and elective or formal enhanced learning plan
  4. Transition to Practice - 13 blocks allocated but may be completed in a minimum of 5 blocks; includes complex anesthesia, obstetric anesthesia, pediatric anesthesia, critical care, teaching, and elective


Transition to Discipline

This 8 week stage emphasizes the orientation and assessment of new trainees arriving from different medical schools and programs.  It includes orientation to academic, administrative and clinical components required to succeed early in the Dalhousie Anesthesia Program.  New residents are matched with 3 clinical mentors who they will work with over the 8 weeks, one of whom will become the residents' academic advisor for their residency program.  The clinical orientation also includes basic teaching sessions and an intensive simulation curriculum on the management of common intraoperative problems.



This 22 block stage covers broad-based competencies that every trainee must acquire before moving on to more advanced, discipline-specific competencies. The stage is comprised of 9 modules including:  Airway and ENT, Perioperative Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Cardiovascular, Pain and Regional, Emergency and Critical Care.  Each module helps the resident to focus on basic assessment and knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology combined with their application to anesthesia.  For example, the ENT and Airway module includes one block on ENT surgery and one block of Airway anesthesia.  The Obstetrics module includes one block of obstetrics and one block of obstetrical anesthesia.  The rotation designated as "PLB (Personal Learning Block)" can be used for research, elective or a formal enhanced learning plan and allows for flexibility within the Program.



This stage includes all the major subspecialty areas that make up the discipline.  Residents rotate through 13 modules over 28 blocks.  Modules include Pediatrics, Neuro, Obstetrics, Cardiovascular, Thoracic, Complex Surgery, Community and Out of OR anesthesia as well as Perioperative Medicine, Pain and Regional, Emergency and Critical Care Medicine and Other.  


Transition To Practice

This stage of residency is designed to promote independent practice.  Residents will complete a minimum of 5 blocks including Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Complex Surgery, and Community anesthesia as well as Critical Care.  The other 8 blocks can be used for electives or research.  Most residents will require the full 13 blocks however it may be possible to finish early if the resident is able to defend their portfolio to show that they have met all the required competencies and training elements. 





There is a formal course on research methodology and critical appraisal. There are active journal and research clubs. Completion of a scholarly project during training is required. Major areas of research activity in the department include pediatric and adult pain, airway management, obstetrics, cardiovascular and ambulatory anesthesia.

Academic Curriculum

Residents are released from clinical duties on Wednesday afternoons to attend the academic program. The academic curriculum is offered in parallel sessions, and then all the residents come together for weekly resident led case based discussions. The curriculum was reviewed in the fall of 2020 for content updates and scheduling changes to accommodate the date change for the Royal College examination period. 

Junior resident participate in the Foundations Program which concentrates on basic principles of anesthesia including preoperative assessment, pharmacology and physiology, anesthesia equipment and anesthesia practice.  Teaching is mostly case based, simulation, and small group learning. 

Senior residents attend the Core Program which runs over 2 years and covers all subspecialties. Again, teaching is mostly case based and simulation.   The Transition to Practice year will concentrate on exam preparation and independent practice.

Residents in 2nd year and above participate in biannual mock oral examinations for practice and experience. There is a mid-training OSCE to monitor learning in these academic programs. All residents complete the AKT examinations at the specified intervals.


Community rotation sites throughout the Maritimes are available for rotations, and a minimum of 10% (approximately equal to 6 blocks) of the program will take place in the community.

Training Sites

- QEII Health Science Center is the base hospital, Halifax, NS (encompassing 2 sites - Halifax Infirmary and Victoria General)

- IWK Health Centre, Halifax, NS

- Darthmouth General Hospital, Halifax NS

- Horizon Health New Brunswick - Moncton and Saint John, NB

- Other sites throughout the Maritimes are available at the residents’ request.


Does everyone get an interview?

  • We have a Selection Committee made up of members of our Residency Program Committee, faculty, residents, and administration who review and score each application.  These reviews serve as the basis for candidates to be offered interviews. Only selected candidates will be offered interviews.  Applicants not interviewed will not be ranked.

How can I connect with current residents in the program or meet with the Program Director?

  • There will be virtual meetings set up with both the Program Director and current residents in the program.  The dates and times of these meetings will be advertised through the CANPREPP calendar.

Can I submit additional info?

  • Required documentation is outlined under the section "Supporting Documentation". All info/documentation must be submitted prior to the CaRMS deadline. Any documentation submitted after this date will not be considered. Any additional documentation submitted will not be reviewed.


Summary of changes

SUMMARY ID Section Summary of changes Updated on NOTIFY APPLICANTS SECTION NAME Actions